Tag Archives: liberal democrats

Party gets smart over fundraising

Pound coins with no dateWe know that the Obama campaign made great use of micro-fundraising during its two successful campaigns. If you are signed up to the emails, you’ll know the kind of thing. You get an email asking you to donate $5 before midnight to get a chance to have dinner with Obama or some (other) celebrity.

The Liberal Democrats have been experimenting a lot with that sort of thing. During the Eastleigh by-election I had a whole host of emails, with increasingly emotional appeals, designed to get me in my …

photo by: Images_of_Money
Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

Men, is your behaviour driving women out of politics?

Imagine you are in a meeting trying to make your case. How would you feel if, every time you opened your mouth to speak, somebody interrupted you before you had got to the end of your first sentence? Not just once. Every. Single.Time.

Imagine you are in a meeting, trying to make your case, but the decision has clearly been made by a small cabal of powerful men who have reached their own understanding over dinner and some booze the night before, at an event that you were not invited to.

Imagine you are in a meeting trying to do your job …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 93 Comments

Opinion: There is a place for Liberal Democrats within the trade union movement

On leaving the Labour Party last year (which I have written about here), I was asked if I was going to be leaving my trade union UNISON. I didn’t and no don’t intend to. The question confused me. I was a trade union activist in the Labour Party more than I was ever a Labour Party activist who happened to be in a trade union.

As a trade unionist I see the purpose of my membership is to be supported at work and to have the union collectively bargain on my behalf for better pay, terms and conditions at work. …

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Liberal Democrats end year with historic membership growth – but we must keep up the good work

The Liberal Democrats ended 2013 with 43,451 members, nearly 1000 more than we had at the start of the year.

This is historic for two reasons. Firstly, we’re the only party in recent history to increase their membership during a year in Government. Secondly, the party’s membership has dropped every year for the last decade (excluding a couple of bumps before general elections), so getting back to a position of growth in the middle of the electoral cycle is a significant achievement.

Underlying this headline is some more good news. The party’s retention of members is now just under 90%, which is …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 14 Comments

Telegraph: “Liberal Democrats believe party can oust several Tories”

Yesterday’s Telegraph has a report that the Liberal Democrats believe that they can win or win back some seats currently held by the Tories.

The seats mentioned are Oxford West and Abingdon, Winchester and St Albans. These seats have all selected their candidates, Layla Moran, Jackie Porter and Sandy Walkington. I could also add Richmond Park, where Robin Meltzer is working hard, campaigning against Heathrow expansion with the help of two neighbouring cabinet ministers. In Harrogate we have Helen Flynn and in Newton Abbot and Truro and Falmouth, Richard Younger-Ross and Simon Rix are in place. All these candidates are …

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How should the Liberal Democrats deal with everyday sexism?

Today’s Daily Mail has an article making various allegations of sexist attitudes towards women within the Liberal Democrats. They’ve been running similar stories all week following the Rock the Boat fringe meeting earlier. One particular woman candidate says that she was told by someone in her local party not to get pregnant because “we don’t want a baby hanging of your t**s.”

The Daily Mail is an unlikely feminist champion, but that shouldn’t detract from the need to tackle such behaviour, which includes inappropriate questions to female candidates during the selection process about their relationships or their plans to have …

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Lord (Tom) McNally writes: The year ahead for Liberal Democrat Lords

LAST week I had the delight, honour and privilege to open the second day of the debate on the Queen’s Speech in the Lords –at four days long, practically the debating equivalent of test cricket.

As I told the House, I have never hidden the reality that, in the present economic climate, the Coalition Government has had to make hard decisions and tough choices to achieve an economic recovery underpinned by fairness. But I believe that in our first three years we have made the tough decisions necessary.

A new parliamentary year is beginning, however, and a new raft of legislation is …

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Opinion: why I’m still a Liberal Democrat…

I’ve been a Liberal Democrat supporter as long as I can remember. My parents were involved with the party, and often shared their political views with my sister and I when we were children. Therefore, I suppose it is no surprise that I actively support the party today.

However, I have to confess that since the Coalition agreement, and the abandonment of the tuition fees promise, I have occasionally wondered why I continue to support the party. A little doubt was creeping into my mind. I never supported the tuition fee policy, but was a little disappointed that some MPs …

Posted in Op-eds | 11 Comments

Why it’s worth being a member of the Liberal Democrats

Today, the Liberal Democrats fulfilled their key election pledge of raising the income tax threshold to £10,000.

And they’ve produced a nifty little picture to tell us about it. And we should rightly be proud.

Tax Threshold infographic

 

 

This doesn’t tell the whole story, though. How did this get in to our manifesto in the first place? Did it fall out of the Orange Book and hit David Laws on the head? I have to say there’s no clue in either of the emails I’ve seen from Danny Alexander today.

Actually no. It came from …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 30 Comments

Julian Huppert MP writes…..The Preamble, 25 years on

25 years ago, our party agreed its new constitution – and the preamble to that constitution, setting out our core values and vision.

Many of us will know some of it – ‘The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, … in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance, or conformity’.

This extract – the bit that appears on membership cards – is in my view truly poetic, and captures brilliantly what we are trying to do. We are concerned about people, and empowering them to do what they can and want to do. …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 54 Comments

Farron: “We screwed this up”

Speaking on Radio Four’s Today programme, Party President Tim Farron spoke candidly about the the handling of the alleged inappropriate behaviour of the party’s former chief executive, stating very plainly:

The one thing I probably can tell you without going through due process is that we screwed this up as a party. There are individuals out there who we have a duty of care towards who we did not fulfil that duty of care to them and that is something we have to learn from, apologise for, and make sure never happens again.

He emphasised two key points which will guide the …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 4 Comments

New Labour group: Lib Dems might prove more tenacious than many people expect

Liberal Democrat badge - Some rights reserved by Paul Walter, Newbury, UKProgress is a New Labour pressure group. On their website, Mark Rusling argues that there are strong signs that the Lib Dems are “waving, not drowning”. He bases this on evidence from local government, particularly from Waltham Forest Council:

…I have a gnawing worry that, while the Liberals aren’t thriving, neither are they drowning. They might prove more tenacious than many people expect.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 10 Comments

What do women Lib Dems want?

Last summer I wrote a survey that was sent to all party members, as part of informing the creation of a new Lib Dem women’s organisation. Colleagues at the Campaign for Gender Balance and the Women Liberal
Democrats are working on a new constitution, and I hope many Lib Dem Voice readers will consider joining, so please get in touch if you would like further details. Please email me at tamoralangleyATgmail.com, replacing “AT” with “@”.

Perhaps the trickiest issue to resolve, in a party characterised by people who tend to think of themselves as individuals rather than members of a group, is …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | 4 Comments

LibLink: Andrew De Freitas – rebel with a cause

This is Grimsby has an in-depth article on veteran local councillor Andrew De Freitas:

A year after fleeing riots in his homeland, a young political activist from British Guiana arrived in Grimsby. In the first of a new series profiling our ward councillors, Local Government Reporter Simon Faulkner speaks to the Liberal Democrat Andrew De Freitas.

“I WAS always a bit of a rebel”, smiles Andrew De Freitas, recalling his childhood in the Caribbean colony of British Guiana.

“My father said ‘this boy when he grows up is going to be a lawyer’, because I was always prepared to argue on people’s

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Opinion: Against liberalism

Statue of David Lloyd George - Some rights reserved  by GabludlowI am a liberal. I believe in standing up for people and communities against over-powerful vested interests – in business, the State, the media, or the unions. However, I also believe that liberalism alone is an inadequate political philosophy, and an insufficient foundation for this Party.

The problem centres on our determination to play down the significance of Left and Right. We sneer that the concepts are simplistic. We seek to defuse or ignore left-right conflict. The inconvenient truth we deny is that Left and Right do matter, often enough to split our party.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 62 Comments

Opinion: We’ve got our strategy the wrong way round

Liberal Democrat badge - Some rights reserved by Paul Walter, Newbury, UKLast Friday Lib Dem HQ sent out an email to parliamentarians, PPCs, council group leaders and other office holders about our party’s new message script. The full email, if anyone is interested, can be found herehere, courtesy of the Liberator.

Aside from the immensely catchy wordy message of “the Lib Dems are working to build a stronger economy in a fairer society, enabling every person to get on in life” (complete with an incredible 16 sub messages), a key point was this:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 41 Comments

Pizza entrepreneur’s £775,000 gift to Lib Dems questioned – Telegraph

The Sunday Telegraph reports that “the Liberal Democrats are facing an investigation into one of the party’s largest donors”. Part of the reports reads as follows:

The Electoral Commission has been asked to examine whether £775,000 paid to the Lib Dems by Rumi Verjee, the entrepreneur who brought Domino’s Pizzas to Britain, is an “impermissible donation”.

The payments were made through Brompton Capital Limited, a company with no staff that has not recorded a turnover since 2003.

Mr Verjee dined with Nick Clegg at Chevening, the grace and favour mansion in Kent used by the Lib Dem leader, a month after the second

Posted in News | 9 Comments

LibLink: Prateek Buch on Nick Clegg’s speech today

Double Clegg 2 - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsOn Comment is Free, Social Liberal Forum director, Prateek Buch provides an interesting critique of Nick Clegg’s speech today:

At least Clegg recognises that Liberal Democrats have to stand up for what we truly believe in. The recent direction of travel on Leveson, drugs reform and snooping is welcome, and we await more robust promotion of party policy on things that really matter to most people – a fair, sustainable economy where living

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

LibLink: Richard Reeves on stepping away from the Tories

David-Cameron-and-Nick-CleggOn Comments is Free, Richard Reeves argues that, in 2013, Nick Clegg needs to establish a more assertive identity and win voters over for bold, new reasons:

The coalition will be a play in two acts. Act one had the parties acting largely in tandem – reforming public services, reversing Labour’s

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Nick Clegg’s speech: Governing Britain from the centre ground: building a stronger economy in a fairer society

 Nick Clegg at rallyNick Clegg gave a keynote speech at the Royal Commonwealth Society on the eve of his 5th anniversary of his election as Liberal Democrat leader. This is what he had to say:

I don’t suppose it’s exactly controversial to suggest that I and my party have changed over that period. Today I will argue that we’ve changed for the better.
Because my purpose here today is to explain, clearly and simply, what the Liberal Democrats offer the people of
Posted in News | Also tagged and | 50 Comments

Opinion: Formulaic differentation of the Lib Dems?

In the never ending quest to differentiate the LibDems , I’ve developed the following formula for use in the pub on a Friday night, whilst chatting over the veg in the local shop, or wherever else the question arises (my previous longer-winded attempt on a beach is here):

Labour = social conscience plus authoritarianism

Posted in Op-eds | 22 Comments

Opinion: Let’s end the smoke filled rooms and make the party truly democratic

When Tim Gordon sent out an email announcing the results of the Federal Committee Elections he said:

The Liberal Democrats are a democratic party to the core, and your voting representatives have returned a set of committees which will ensure that members’ voices are heard at all levels of the party.

However, I look at the results as someone who is a member of Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform, a democracy activist who

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged | 32 Comments

Opinion: Conference crèche keeps parent activists

A baby in a sling makes an amazing Conference icebreaker. Over the five days I lost count of the number of people who stopped to admire my darling and ask questions, to the point where occasionally I gave the answers without being asked (“11 weeks”, “Nicholas”, “no, not after the Leader, after his father’s uncle). During the day, when I wasn’t carrying him, I frequently got stopped and asked “where’s your baby?”

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | 5 Comments

Conference Skype* speeches – a must have

There is a vast opportunity staring the Liberal Democrats in the face: To be the first British political party to accommodate speeches via Skype at their conference.

There are all sorts of arguments for and against this. Would it stop people bothering to come to conference altogether and just participate from their living room? Would that kill conference?

But there are two massive reasons why it should be done very

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 15 Comments

Opinion: Make a clean break – You shouldn’t flirt behind your partner’s back

On Saturday evening at Brighton, I attended a meeting organised by the Social Liberal Forum (SLF) with the controversial title ‘Disengaging with the Tories before 2015′. A number of equally controversial speakers were featured, including Neal Lawson (Chair of Compass), Stuart Weir (former Director of Democratic Audit) and Green MP, Caroline Lucas.

Between them, they suggested essentially that we break up the coalition as soon as possible and form a progressive leftist coalition. (Lord Renard and Tim Farron were also there and

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 20 Comments

Time now to prepare for a progressive centre-left coalition in 2015

Compass chair Neal Lawson has a must-read letter to the Lib Dems in this week’s New Statesman. In it, he argues that the centre left bungled a governmental opportunity in 2010 due to unpreparedness. He encourages us to start the ground work now for a potential centre left progressive coalition in 2015, rather than leaving it to the likes of David Laws and Michael Gove to “stitch it up again”.

That’s why we have to build relationships now – through policy, ideas debates and campaigns. We

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 43 Comments

LDV debate: The Lib Dem leadership

On September 2nd, Liberal Democrat Voice co-editor, Stephen Tall, strongly supported Nick Clegg’s leadership of the Liberal Democrats, in his piece, Nick Clegg’s leadership: 3 thoughts from me.

Giving one other side of the debate, Monday editor of LDV, Paul Walter, here explains why he cannot support Nick Clegg as leader any more. Below Paul’s piece, fellow day editor, Nick Thornsby responds.

Against – by Paul Walter

This week I have had a peculiarly “beard and sandals” type of personal crisis.

I heard that Jeremy Hunt had been promoted to run one of the largest and most cherished government departments – Health. This …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 154 Comments

Opinion: Time for Liberal Democrats to stop saying “No”.

If you Google “Lib Dems say no”, this is the result you get. Beyond the recent headlines on new runways you will see that this phrase is widely used in our campaigns. In the same search, click on Images to emphasise the point. One would be forgiven for thinking that this phrase is printed on our membership cards. This phrase is deeply  conservative and does nothing to help with our problem of explaining what the Lib Dems stand for, something I recently argued we urgently need to do.

At the next election an opportunity to set that vision our …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

Bogdanor: Cable has exposed the Liberal Democrat divide

Over on Comment is free, Vernon Bogdanor says that Vince Cable’s ‘hat in leadership ring throw’ reflects a fundamental divide within the party:

Cable’s intervention, therefore, should not be seen solely in personal terms, but as bringing to the surface the conflict between the social and the economic Liberals in his party. No one can predict how this conflict will be resolved. But it is probably safe to assume that the instincts of most Lib Dems remain on the left, and that they continue to regard Labour as a competitor,

Posted in News | Also tagged | 7 Comments

Clegg: ‘I’d form a new coalition with Ed Miliband’

There was an interesting interview with Nick Clegg in yesterday’s Sunday People:

Nick Clegg would form a coalition with Ed Miliband in the next government, he told The People.

The Lib Dem leader could even stay on as Deputy PM if a general election ­replaced one governing party with another.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 25 Comments



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    @Martin "Reducing the number of MPs could only be acceptable in the context of a more representative voting system" Indeed. The party policy in the...
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    Interesting Shakesperian quote but would have been more powerful if he'd used the whole sentence - "The fault dear Brutus is not in the stars...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 17th Apr - 6:15pm
    "Your solution,.(?).. is to create some kind of ‘academy’ to train young people to become the [new],…. “narrow class of professional politicians most of whose...
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    @ John Dunn, Having looked at the website, it is not just about training SpAds.
  • User Avatardaft ha'p'orth 17th Apr - 6:02pm
    " it is the PEOPLE who are to blame " Or, more concisely, 'See what you've made us do? See what you've driven us to?'
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    I would not lump the BNP and UKIP together. For a start, the BNP has virtually imploded, Griffin has officially been declared bankrupt (in financial...